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Magnetic Yellow Ribbons Do Not Support The Troops, They Support 3 Inches Of Bumper Space On Your Car 
2nd-May-2007 10:33 am
  1. You are not supporting the troops by parading around with a magnetic yellow ribbon on your car.
  2. You are not supporting the troops by wearing a particular color one day a week.
  3. You are not supporting the troops by clapping for them in airports.
  4. You are not supporting the troops by hollow gestures that can and will be as forgotten as the names and faces of the 3,351 you didn't know and will never be able to know.

My friend lifeasicit said it best when he told me "There is a big difference between supporting the troops and not supporting those who run the war. There are many circumstances that cause a person to enlist and it is not for us to understand why, only to let them know we care and have not forgotten them." Having served in the military himself, he echoes my feelings perfectly, which is why I am trying to be proactive.

We need to remember them and properly mourn them when they die so senselessly, but that is not enough. We need to do more to support those in harm's way. If the powers that be won't, then it is up to the citizens of this country to take care of our own. They are our children and they are in harm's way - what more motivation does one need?


Put Heat On Our Government Officials To BRING THEM HOME SAFE AND SOON

Make A Care Package & Send It Yourself
This is easy, requires little time or effort, and will really make a difference. You can even go in on items with a friend, get together a group of people and go shopping for items, make a night of it. Tell people what you're doing and explain how they can do it as well.

Pork products, Alcohol, Pornographic materials, liquid hand sanitizer, or Aerosol cans. Due to the extreme heat, chocolate is not mailed during the summer months.

Any Soldier

Visit the USPS at http://www.usps.com to learn more about APO/FPO mailings and view sizes of postal boxes available. Call 1-800-222-1811 to order free shipping supplies. Visit the Military Postal Service Agency to learn even more http://hqdainet.army.mil/mpsa/mid.htm.
Canned Items
canned fruit
chicken and/or packs; pop-top
peanut butter / jelly
tuna and/or packs (tuna in pouches are best)

cajun seasoning
garlic salt
honey packs
hot sauce
salad dressings
salsa (don't forget the taco chips)
salt/pepper, sugar packets
Sweet N Low/Equal/Splenda packets

Ground Coffee / Tea / Hot Chocolate
(if they have a coffee-maker),
coffee creamer
hot chocolate mixes
instant coffee
tea bags

Microwavable Foods
(if they have a microwave)
Mac & Cheese
brownie mix
various mini dinners
instant oatmeal
instant soups / soups in pop-top containers

Powdered Drink Mix Singles
Crystal Light
juice boxes
Propel, etc.

Snacking Foods
beef Jerky / beef sticks, summer sausage
cheese spreads / small Velveeta cheese blocks
Dry Cereal
Chex Mix
crackers for snacking
dried fruit
energy bars / Cereal Bars / high protein bars /
Granola Bars
fruit pies
gum, Hard Candy wrapped (no chocolate in
Little Debbies & other snack cakes
nuts (all kinds)
pudding cups

Advil, Tylenol, Cold/Cough drops, Sinus Meds
Air Freshener
Antibiotic Cream (Neosporin)
Anti-Bacterial Wipes
Baby Oil, Baby Powder
Baby Wipes
Bath mat
Bath/hand/wash towels (dark colors)
Blankets for cooler weather
Body Wash / soap (be sure to triple pack the
soap and not put it near the food as it leaves the
smell of soap on the food)
Clothes Pins/Line
Contact Lens Cleaner
Cotton Balls
Dental Floss
Disposable hand and feet warmers
DUSTING CLOTHS for removing the sand from
everything and every surface
Eye Drops
Eyeglass Kit
Face Soap
Feminine hygiene products (multipacks of tampons, maxipads, cleansing wipes)
Foot Inserts for boots
Foot/Boot Powder
Hair bands/pony tail holders
Insect Repellent Wipes/ non aerosol spray
with Deet (need in spring/summer)
Laundry Soap / Fabric Softener
Magazines (make sure they're current)
Nail clippers
Playing cards
Tissue/Toilet paper
Toothbrushes (& the mini travel ones in their own cases)
Unscented lotion
White socks

irana adds: "If you're just sending a generic box, please specify if it is for a woman. Also, write a letter, a short note, something to make it personal. Mail call sucks when you don't get mail, and even a short "I hope you can use any or all of these and it helps you relax" freaking kicks ass when you get it."
Link to this post:

Yellow ribbons DO NOT Support the troops,
they support 3 inches of bumper space on your car.

If you really want to support the troops, click here and read jesus_h_biscuit's post on how to REALLY support our troops.

Track this post:
(Deleted comment)
2nd-May-2007 03:11 pm (UTC)
Hey - it's what I do ;-)

I'm now in the sore sinuses/throat/post nasal drip/sneeze to death stage. Good times!
2nd-May-2007 03:14 pm (UTC)
You know I'm crazy about you, don't you?

I hate those yellow ribbons. Such a shallow gesture. Reminds me of all the flags one saw flying after 9/11. No one knew how to display a flag properly--I saw them wrapped around trees, draped on car trunk lids, etc. (I saw a flag with 48 stars in CT--I knew it was a conservative area, but that's a bit extreme!) There was a tow truck driving around Manhattan with something like seventeen flags flying! As a friend said, the bigger the flag, the more frightened I am.
2nd-May-2007 03:32 pm (UTC)
Hollow gestures like that really piss me off, especially at a time when our own are being sent off to die for WHATEVER reason. It cheapens their service as far as I'm concerned. I'm not much on that kind of symbolism anyway, it's more about what you do to represent - that's what I'm saying.
2nd-May-2007 03:21 pm (UTC)
I sorta want to dry hump your leg right now.
2nd-May-2007 03:32 pm (UTC)
You say the sweetest things...
2nd-May-2007 04:12 pm (UTC)
o/~ SOOOOOOOO STICK another ribbon on your SUV
Stick your apathy up your PASSivity! o/~
2nd-May-2007 04:30 pm (UTC)
ROFL - I remember that!
2nd-May-2007 04:29 pm (UTC)
You might want to add tampons and other 'feminine hygiene' products to the toiletries list for all the female soldiers out there. As a general rule, those are top commodity for the ladies.

2nd-May-2007 04:31 pm (UTC)
EXCELLENT point! Editing now.
2nd-May-2007 05:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this, Jude. I'd like to add a couple of links for the "Do Something" category.

Fisher House - This organization provides housing for military family members near where their loved ones are hospitalized and/or while they are doing long-term physical therapy.

CaringBridge.org - Not specific to the military, but this organization provides free web sites where family members can post about the recovery process of an injured soldier and keep a large group of family and friends informed.

I heard about both of these organizations when a former co-worker was severely injured in Iraq, and they are both excellent resources for military families. I am happy to have made several donations to both over the past couple of years, and your post has inspired me to make additional contributions in the near future.
2nd-May-2007 05:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much - added!
(Deleted comment)
2nd-May-2007 05:31 pm (UTC)
Can I add a couple things to that list?
Unscented Lotion
Nail clippers
Tissue/toilet paper (because omfg it's bad enough to have to dig a hole in the field but have nothing to wipe with, especially women)
Hairbands/pony tail holders (sounds dumb, but while hair is required to not go past a certain point on the uniform, it doesn't mean hair can't be long, and as crazy as it is, some women refuse to cut their hair more than they have to, so they need something to keep their hair off their collar)
White socks for PT

If you're just sending a generic box, please specify if it is for a woman. Also, write a letter, a short note, something to make it personal. Mail call sucks when you don't get mail, and even a short "I hope you can use any or all of these and it helps you relax" freaking kicks ass when you get it.

BTW, I don't know you, but I think I should.
2nd-May-2007 05:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you SO MUCH - I edited the post and included your comment. Again, many thanks!

BTW - I agree, I don't know you either - but I think I should.
2nd-May-2007 06:44 pm (UTC)
dude...this is an amazing post.

all of the suggestions on things to send are spot on. The powdered gatorade was one of my favorite things to get when i was in iraq.

I would also say that sending magazines is another great thing, it doesnt matter what it is, as long as it is semi-new.

The Fisher House is amazing, I know from first hand the effect it has on families. When i was stationed in germany, i was their when they opened the first Fisher House in Landsthul, and i meet the first family that used it. It really is an amazing thing.

I, sort of have to disagree with the *clapping in the airport* bullet. Only because it was such a surreal thing to experience. Granted I do not remember the names of any of the people in the airport. But it did show me that people back in the states cared about us. It was a very odd thing to have some stranger come up and hug you.

It is sad to see the numbers of deaths rising, and then to watch the news report stupid egotistical men in the white house arguing about military budget....

hehe there is alot more i could say about this post, but i will leave it as is now.

thank you for posting this.
2nd-May-2007 07:07 pm (UTC)
Magazines - good call, I am glad you mentioned it - will add that to the list now

It's not that I think the clapping is something bad or completely hollow, just that fleeting things like that might make someone feel better and feel they've contributed something, but it pales in comparison to what I'm talking about here. That was what I meant. A lot of my feelings on such things come from the fact that I grew up in (and still live in ) Columbus, GA - 5 minutes from Fort Benning. I know hundreds of soldiers, and am part of a military family - and they've all echoed parts of this post with me. Well, the ones that make sense, anyway.
2nd-May-2007 06:59 pm (UTC)
Is there a way i can post all this , say, to my yahoo 360, myspace, and email?? I've placed the link in my journal as soon as i read this! You have a heart of gold! :) xoxox
2nd-May-2007 07:08 pm (UTC)
Just copy & paste the code - it should work, all except for the image with only appears on other LiveJournal posts.
(Deleted comment)
3rd-May-2007 11:03 pm (UTC)
Thankies, sweetness! I've really been enjoying the picture posts of late - they really brighten my morning, which is great since I've been sicker than hell all damned week long now.
2nd-May-2007 08:47 pm (UTC)
As an army wife with a husband soon to deploy, I certainly appreciate your concern and support of our troops. I know firsthand how much it means to my husband and his soldiers. It's always the little things--the tabasco sauce, a gift card to download iTunes or call home, a tiny little Christmas stocking--that brings the most happiness to them.

Regardless of anyone's political beliefs, we all know what a quagmire this war has become, but as long as we have troops on the ground over there, we've got to give them every bit of support we can.
2nd-May-2007 10:17 pm (UTC)
May your husband be safe and home as soon as humanly possible! Thanks for your comments!
2nd-May-2007 08:54 pm (UTC)
Wow the information on this one is amazing.

I don't know you, found you through bigfundrew, and just wanted to let you know I linked to the post in my lj.

I always wanted to send a care package but my friends in the military don't "want" anything from friends at home except funny emails and well wishes (modest lil gits). And the fact I'm helping a stranger's kind of a cool feeling. That Any Soldier site is amazing.

I'm going to add you if you don't mind. :)
2nd-May-2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
I thank you very much - welcome aboard! Andy is a very dear friend, and if you're a friend of his then you're a friend of mine.
(Deleted comment)
3rd-May-2007 11:04 pm (UTC)
This is too cool - and I loved the post that resulted from this as well. Thanks so much for the repost!
3rd-May-2007 01:36 am (UTC)
I just requested to adopt two soldiers. I've sort of been resistent on it in the past because I thought no one would want to talk to a guy back home... you know, they're mostly seeking photos and interaction with hot chicks... but I'll give it a shot.

It would be really great to get to know a soldier and maybe cheer him up a bit by having my friends also write to him or her as well.

Totally going to wal-mart to stock up and make care packages.
3rd-May-2007 09:15 pm (UTC)
I really think you should do this. I know from experience (not Iraq, but elsewhere) and from talking with people in my old unit and friends that are over in Iraq now, they need the interaction. It keeps them grounded, reminds them why they're fighting, and you have no possible idea how very much it means to them - all the soldiers It's a sanity savior in comparison to what they see every day - male and female - to know someone is thinking about them back home.
3rd-May-2007 02:58 am (UTC) - Blue Ribbon to Bring Troops Home
I have purchased this ribbon a while ago. Their objective is to say that there are a lot of people out there who think that bringing our troops home is the patriotic thing to do.
3rd-May-2007 11:05 pm (UTC) - Re: Blue Ribbon to Bring Troops Home
Interesting, thanks for letting me know about this!
3rd-May-2007 03:39 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for posting this sweetie. Our Coven is going to apply with AdoptaPlatoon as a whole group. If we can't get a whole platoon, then we are going to request several of our pagan soldiers...plus one of our ex-coven members will be having our support as he is to be deployed soon. This post just had me sitting in awe and nodding my head with everything you said.

Thanks honey for everything. You are an inspiration.

Love, Vesta
3rd-May-2007 11:06 pm (UTC)
I appreciate it, darlin'!
3rd-May-2007 05:01 am (UTC)
THANK you for this post, and these links. As much as the ribbon spiel annoyed the piss out of me, I thought to myself: "Well, what have YOU done?", and I didn't know HOW to actually go about doing SOMETHING until now.

Thank you again. (HUG)
3rd-May-2007 11:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you, this is exactly what my aim was!
3rd-May-2007 11:38 am (UTC)
Your practical list of links and suggestions will inspire and motivate people to do a whole lot beyond the symbolic sporting of a bumper sticker or magnet. On those ground alone, you are to be saluted for your efforts. As a Persian Gulf Vet, I can't tell you enough about how those care packages and letters improved the morale of myself and my soldiers during our time in the Middle East.

Thank you, and thanks to everyone who actually follows through and contributes to the improvement of spirits of our folks in harm's way right now in the Middle East.

On the politics of it all, I couldn't disagree with you more, but concede that the mismanagement of the war has had consequences that we are going to have to deal with for years to come. Americans don't like to lose, and they certainly don't support incompetence from their war leaders.

The reality is that we are currently fighting the same guys who planned and executed the 9-11 attacks, only now we are doing so in Iraq. To pull the troops out now will almost certainly guarantee victory for al Qaeda, and to a large extent, Iran. The terrorists will not only gain strength and execute all who collaborated with our Coalition, but will follow our forces back home to North America.

For me, supporting the troops must also include supporting their mission, which is to stand up an Iraqi Defense Force capable of defending its nation and a government elected by its citizenry. We may not like how we got to this point, but the majority of our Armed Forces on the ground there believe in what they are doing, and so do I.

Interestingly enough, your post is more practical than any political stunt engineered in Washington D.C. by the so-called professionals in the last few weeks. Until sanity and a sense of urgency returns to the elected officials, the timely suggestions and links provided by you will encourage many to do more than just slap a magnet on the hull on their cars.
3rd-May-2007 11:08 pm (UTC)
WOW - thank you so much for taking the time to write this, it is much appreciated - as is your service. We can argue politics another time if you like ;-)
3rd-May-2007 09:15 pm (UTC)
Great post!! I'm linking your post in my LJ.

I am currently in the Air Force and have deployed a few times. I know that in most instances, the AF has it a LOT easier than the other services, but deployed is deployed - away from family and friends. I was deployed for Christmas and it was great to have the packages, both from random strangers and friends and/or family. And any stuff we might have gotten in the box but didn't need went to a central repository for others to get things they needed from. Believe me: I visited that area a lot to get different things.

If someone reads this and is thinking of sending a package, those Swiffer dust cloths (that are used on the Swiffer sweeper) would be GREAT to get that fine dust off of things. :) Baby wipes work well too, but they still leave a film.

Thanks again for putting this together!
3rd-May-2007 11:09 pm (UTC)
I appreciate it, as I do you - thank you so very much!
3rd-May-2007 11:03 pm (UTC)
As a military spouse, I read this and gave you a standing ovation (even if it's just me in my empty house). So many people don't understand that lip-service does absolutely nothing to help those they're "supporting". And the government is making it harder than ever. For some reason, the Department of the Army decided to step in on the Family Support Groups (now: Family Readiness Groups). These used to be wholly volunteer groups, generally organized by whoever felt the urge within the unit. These spouses would pound the ground getting donations from local businesses to put together massive packages to the units if deployed or to organize stress-relieving events for the soldiers and their families while at home. Now, it's all a bunch of bureaucratic bullshit (pardon my language) and the Army's "organizational" overtaking means that in order to volunteer, spouses must complete several Army-regulated courses, cannot solicit from local businesses, and must only provide support to the soldiers in an Army-approved way. It's become frustrating at best, and completely ineffective at worst. What used to be "volunteer" is now "voluntold," meaning that spouses are no longer participating from the goodness of their hearts and their own desire to help the soldiers, but because it's one of those "not-really-mandatory-but-I'll-get-chewed-out" things. Which, of course, means that the people "helping" are generally pissed off at being forced to do something they really don't have the time and/or desire to do.

Argh, sorry, didn't mean to rant on something barely on topic, but yeah, I'm certainly overjoyed to see someone doing something REAL, for once. Thanks, from me and my entire family.
3rd-May-2007 11:15 pm (UTC)
First, thank you so much. It's part of the point I wanted to make here, that the families of service members can only do so much and it is our collective responsibility as Americans to offer help and support in lieu of not being required to make any other sacrifices.

Second, my journal is censorship free - you let it fly any way you want to anytime you comment to one of my posts. Rant all you want on Rat Bastard Friday, trust me - you'll catch on quickly.

Thanks so much!
4th-May-2007 12:38 am (UTC)
Thank you for posting this. My "husband" was in the military when we met and I was a military spouse for a few years...

I remember when those ribbons first came out and were sold on base by the FRG (family readiness group)... and the profits went to them (which they used for family support, and all the stuff you listed)... But then it went crazy and now you can get them at Wal-Mart and not a single cent goes to help the troops.

Thank you especially for posting the link to anysoldier! And I know first hand that the site works... as I have friends who've received things via their site!

Anyway. I just wanted to say thank you, and my husband thanks you too!
4th-May-2007 01:34 am (UTC)
Excellent - many thanks!
4th-May-2007 03:22 am (UTC)
Hey there! AWESOME POST!!! I have been sending care packages over to Iraq since my baby cousin went over on his FIRST tour in 2004.

Here is another charity to add to your list. A woman in Delaware takes donations and sends AC units to our troop sin Iraw. Would you believe that most troop quarters do not have AC, but yet we make sure the prisoners have AC!!!

I have a cousin who was a first Sgt in the Army, and he arranged for this wonderful woman to send over 6 AC units so that the 34 people in his organizations would be able to have AC.

Here is an article about her: http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=16146&archive=true

My theory is this: Instead of paying for a stupid magnet, donate the money to an organization that supports Veterans or Veteran Services. Funding for the VA has been cut despite the overflow of disabled vets!!!

Do you know that if you are not rated 50% disabled that you have to go on a WAITING LIST to be able to enter the VA medical system???? That is my soapbox issues. It angers me so much!

Thanks again for the awesome post! You rock!
4th-May-2007 12:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks for bringing this to my attention - I added a link to the post.

I think part of the reason for the 50% qualification is because there are so many wounded and the system is just broken as can be anyway. It completely sucks, yes - but that's what we've done to them.
4th-May-2007 03:28 am (UTC)
My father sends care packages frequently. I believe cigarettes are typically very well received. =)

Also, if you contact your local VFW, they can help you find soldiers who are serving from your area.
4th-May-2007 12:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Great idea!
5th-May-2007 12:23 am (UTC) - Support our gamers!
Some of our troops are trying to run the first D&D con in Iraq & are looking for donations of gaming stuff & stuff for prizes:

Thanks for posting this!
9th-May-2007 06:59 am (UTC)
Damn this is a good post. I think I will send a care package. I never thought about it before but I'm sure I could send things even like my newest Nintendo Power Issue (They can learn all about Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, NiGHTS sequel, and other upcoming games.) along with things I could get at Costco. Thanks for the post. Got here through Irana. I'm glad I found this. Thanks for the websites and the suggestions.
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